Car Donation Questions

Donation Process

When will my vehicle be picked up?

Donated vehicles are typically picked up within 3 business days. During our busiest donation months –December & January – we ask that donors allow more time for pick up.

What documentation will I receive for my donation?

Donors receive a donation receipt and a tax receipt. A donation receipt is provided by our tow truck driver at the point of pick up. This proof of donation can be used to cancel insurance and assist in returning tags to Department of Motor Vehicles.

A tax receipt, which contains the value of donor’s tax deduction, is sent to the donor after their vehicle has been processed (See below: when can I expect my tax receipt). As a complimentary service, VFC also provides a 1098c for all donations, except those that sell for under $500.

VFC Policies and Procedures

Does tax deduction depend on the way VFC uses my donated vehicle?

Yes

VFC will provide you an initial assessment of how the vehicle will be used at the point of donation. A final determination will be made once we are able to physically review the vehicle.

When will I know how the vehicle will be used?

All cars donations are reviewed within 10 days of pick up. An email will be sent to the donor within 2 weeks.

VFC typically awards cars to families that are less than 15 years old with less than 150,000 miles. Why is that?

Our first priorities is the safety and reliability of the vehicle. We expect that an awarded vehicle will provide at least 2 years or 24,000 miles of service. In addition, most recipients are single mothers with very little car knowledge. They have very little confidence in cars that are older and/or have higher miles.

Please note that these year/mileage restrictions are guidelines for how donations will be used. Vehicles for Change reviews and evaluates each donation on a case-by-case basis.

Why are some donated vehicles sold through Freedom Wheels, VFC’s used car lot?

Luxury vehicles typically carry a much higher repair costs and are too expensive for our low income recipients. These vehicles (and occasionally other donated vehicles that have a high book value) are sold through Freedom Wheels to maximize the donor’s tax deduction and the return for VFC.

Tax Deduction

What will my deduction be for my donated vehicle?

A donor’s tax deduction depends on how their vehicle is used by VFC. Read our deduction guidelines.

My vehicle will be sold through Freedom Wheels. What tax deduction can I expect?

As long as no major repairs are made to these cars, donors of vehicles sold through Freedom Wheels are able to deduct the selling price of their vehicle. This price is typically close or equal to the fair market value of the vehicle.

My vehicle will be sold at auction. What tax deduction can I expect?

Donors whose vehicles sell at auction are able to deduct the selling price of the vehicle. It is important to note that auctions are a unique market. In our experience, vehicles at auction typically sell for 1/3 – ½ of the fair market value of the vehicle. Donors can use an online tool such as the “What’s My Current Car Worth” feature on www.kbb.com to estimate the fair market value of their vehicle.

Tax Receipts & 1098CS

When can I expect to receive my tax receipt?

This depends on how VFC uses the donated vehicle: Vehicles awarded to a family:

Per IRS Regulations

Vehicles awarded to a family: Donors will be sent a tax receipt within 30 days of the vehicle’s pick up (As long as there are not title or lien problems).

A vehicle needing major repair and VFC completes the major repair will also receive a tax receipt within 30 days of pick up.

For all other vehicles a tax receipt will be mailed within 30 days of the date of the sale.

My donated vehicle was awarded to a family and I just received my tax receipt and 1098c. Why did Vehicles for Change leave lines 4b (date) and 4c blank (amount sold) on the 1098c form?

The IRS stipulates that VFC is not able to enter anything into 4C if the vehicle is transferred to a needy individual for significantly below Fair Market Value. Please click on the IRS link for more information.

Why doesn’t Vehicles for Change provide a value for the Fair Market Value deduction to donors?

Per IRS regulations, it is up to the donor to determine the car’s condition at the time of donation. Donors can use an online tool such as the “What’s My Current Car Worth” feature on www.kbb.com to determine their vehicle’s worth.

What happens if my car sells for under $500?

A donation that sells for less than $500 the donor may take the higher amount of the fair market value of the vehicle or the selling price up to $500. Please click on A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donations for more information.

My donated car needed major repair and VFC completes the repair prior to selling the vehicle, how do I claim this on my taxes?

You may deduct the Fair Market Value minus the estimated cost of repairs. The 1098c form that will be sent to the donor will not have selling date or an amount sold (Section 4b and 4C). VFC will provide the cost of the repairs to you.

Car Donation Title/Lien

What if an owner of the car is deceased?

If the vehicle is jointly owned and you are the surviving owner or spouse:

  • Take the title and original death certificate to the MVA/DMV to obtain a new title in your name
  • That title can then be signed over to Vehicles for Change

If the vehicle was transferred to you through a will but you are not the surviving owner of spouse:

  • Take the following documents to the MVA/DMV to obtain a new title in your name:
    • Original title
    • Original death certificate
    • An original power of attorney or letter of administration (with a raised seal) giving the donor permission to sign for the deceased
  • That title can then be signed over to Vehicles for Change

If you want to donate but do not want to go to MVA/DMV for a new title:
Send to Vehicles for Change:

  • An original death certificate for the deceased individual
  • An original power of attorney or letter of administration (with a raised seal) giving the donor
    permission to sign for the deceased
  • The original title. The donor should still print and sign their name as the seller of the vehicle and
    write “Vehicles for Change” as the buyer of the vehicle.
What if I have a title from a state different than where I live and I need to get a duplicate?

The first step is to visit the website of the DMV in the state on the title. There may be a form you can submit to update your address, and then you can submit the duplicate title form. If there is no information, you may have to call them to find out how to update your address in their system.

How do I obtain a lien release?

Contact the lien holder printed on the front of your title. By providing your contact information and vehicle information (VIN, year, make, model), you should be able to obtain a lien release.

Note: Vehicles for Change needs an original version of the lien release, not a copy